Friday, October 21, 2011

Our Gideon Fleece

Some people are critical of Gideon for laying out the fleece. After all, the Lord had already told Gideon that he'd delivered Israel's enemies into his hand. They say that Gideon should have believed the Lord when the Angel of the Lord caused fire to come from the rock and consume the meal Gideon had prepared. Perhaps Gideon did doubt the Lord more than he should have, but it seems interesting to me that Gideon waited until after he had called 32,000 men to battle before he laid out the fleece. I don't know about you, but I know I wouldn't call 32,000 men to battle against a people without number if I didn't have some faith.

I don't think the fleece was about a lack of confidence in God as much as Gideon lacked confidence in himself. He was ready to go fight, but he wasn't sure that he was the right man to be leading these men. The Lord assured Gideon of that by giving Gideon the sign he asked for. The Lord never told Gideon he shouldn't have asked for that sign.But then the Lord did something even more amazing. You don't think you can lead 32,000 men? Let's make it 10,000. Still too many? Let's make it 300. Some churches are larger than that. Using God's plan, Gideon was able to defeat the enemy with just 300 men.

Now once the enemy was on the run, Gideon called for the 32,000 to go after them, but the Lord gave Gideon a managable group to work with. I see a couple of things here. One is that God able to use us even when we're not confident. When we think we have no ability or we're too small, God proves that he is able to deliver us.

Another thing is that I think we need to have more confidence in our ability to do the right thing. I've often heard people talk about how it is wrong to make decisions without consulting God. They're usually talking about things like buying a car or a house, getting married, etc. I think that if we're consistently walking with the Lord, we'll know his will, even if we don't specifically pray about them. It may be that the Lord will let us go on with what we want to do, or it could be that like he did with Gideon, he will show us a better plan. Gideon, after the fleece, was ready to go to battle with 32,000 men. Gideon never asked if that was the right plan. The Lord gave him a different plan, even though Gideon didn't ask. When we know we're moving toward what the Lord wants us to do, there's nothing wrong with going by our own plan until the Lord shows us a better one.